Businesses Adversely Affected by Algae Asked to Apply for Assistance

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For weeks now, locals and visitors alike have seen the warning flags posted along many stretches of South Mississippi beaches warning people to avoid contact with the water in those areas, and the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality has also warned people not to eat fish and seafood caught in these affected. A far-reaching toxic blue-green algae bloom is being blamed for these closures and warnings. all leading to hardships for South Mississippi fishermen and other businesses, but help could soon be available.

Due to the harmful algal bloom on the Mississippi gulf coast, and the additional contact warnings issued by the Mississippi DEQ, Governor Phil Bryant may request an economic injury declaration from the Small Business Administration. According to the SBA, an Economic Injury Declaration means a business is “unable to meet its obligations to pay its ordinary and necessary operating expenses. EID loans provide the necessary working capital to help small businesses survive until normal operations resume after a disaster.”

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For the governor to be able to request an EID, at least five businesses in each of the primary counties must show they have suffered a substantial economic injury. Additionally, the degree of economic injury must be so severe that financial assistance at reasonable rates and terms is not otherwise available, creating the necessity for federal involvement in the form of subsidized loans.” creating the necessity for federal involvement in the form of subsidized loans.

If you are a business owner and want to be included in this possible declaration, the proper contact for your county is listed below:

Hancock County: Maureen Anderson at (228) 467-0172.

Harrison County: Michelle Watts at (228) 865-4002.

Jackson County: Sonya Carter at (228) 938-2850.

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Toni started at WXXV News 25 in December of 2013, just three months after the news was launched. She has served as Assignment Editor, anchored for nearly two years, worked as a reporter for several years and hosted Coastal Connections for more than four years. Toni graduated Magna Cum Laude from the University of Southern Mississippi where she was editor of the Student Printz. She then did an internship on Capitol Hill, working for a U.S. Senator, then returned to Mississippi as a reporter at WDAM in Hattiesburg. After that, she moved to the Mississippi Gulf Coast, working as a reporter for FOX 25 in Biloxi, then crossing city lines to work at WLOX-TV news in Biloxi, starting out as a producer, then working as a photographer, reporter, weekend assignment editor and weekend anchor. She was among the station team that won the Edward Murrow and Peabody awards for coverage during Hurricane Katrina. Toni moved to the Lone Star State where she worked as the morning and noon anchor, investigative reporter and live shot reporter for KZTV Action 10 News, then KRIS TV News in Corpus Christi, Texas. Toni moved back to the Magnolia State to be with and take care of her family, working as a multi-media journalist and fill-in anchor at WDBD Fox 40 news in Jackson. After almost completing a second degree in filmmaking at the University of Southern Mississippi Gulf Coast, Toni transitioned back to news at News 25. Toni is blessed to have a wonderful support network of close family, friends and mentors, and she hopes to pay it forward. She has a three-legged chiweenie named Rocky Balboa because of his fighting spirit. She loves writing and has completed a novel that has been adapted into a screenplay, and has just finished another screenplay called "Delta Rose." She's currently working on a new legal thriller called "Fall From Grace." Stay tuned.... If you’d like to book a live in studio interview on News 25 Today, just email: tmiles@wxxv25.com. These interviews can have up to two guests, last about two minutes and showcase community events, non-profit organizations and things of interest to people in our area…and they’re FREE! Just send information about your event, including date, time, location, contact number and/or website for viewers wanting more information, along with the proper name and titles of the person or two people who will be interviewed, and Toni or producer Porsha Williams (pwilliams@wxxv25.com) will get back with you via email in a timely manner to book a date. Typical interview times are daily at: 5:45, 6:45, 7:45 or 8:45 am. Guests are asked to arrive about 30 minutes beforehand. You can also ask about booking a live shot on location for news events for our 6 and 7 am newscasts. We look forwarding to having you!

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